Speech at Climate Action and Peace rally, 9/21/19

by Ginny Kerslake

Hello everyone and thank you. It is an honor and pleasure to stand before you today. And to follow Isaac. I was at West Chester Borough Council that night in July when he and his schoolmates spoke so passionately and intelligently, and persuaded Council to vote for a ban on plastics. It was an inspiring night. These children, this borough, coming together to make change.

I am involved in a different local movement, but one that is closely linked. When the Mariner East pipeline project roared into Southeastern Pennsylvania, residents started educating themselves and speaking up against this threat to the homes we work hard for, our quality of life, our families’ safety, our community’s safety. We aren’t pipeline activists, but rather ordinary residents defending what we love.

When land agents started knocking doors with easements five years ago, property owners were told Mariner East would be just like all the other pipelines we have been living with. We were told they had eminent domain, so even if we didn’t sign their easements they would put their pipelines on our land anyway and take us to court. We were told that construction would last 2 weeks tops and “you won’t hear us, you won’t see us, you won’t even notice we’re here.”

Well, there probably aren’t many people in Chester County who haven’t noticed Mariner East construction, now into its third year. In townships across Chester County and the state, private water sources have been destroyed, sometimes where there is no access to public water. Streams have been polluted. In West Whiteland Township, where I live, a neighborhood has been destroyed and the families in five homes forced to leave in silence in order to get fair compensation. And we now know that these pipelines are NOT like all the others.

The three Mariner East pipelines will transport over 700,000 barrels per day of ethane, butane and propane liquified under high pressure, making them much more dangerous that the other pipelines we are used to. When there is a leak these liquids convert back to their gaseous state and because they are heavier than air they stay close to the ground and spread like fog. They are odorless, colorless and highly explosive. To evacuate, one must run a half mile, upwind, on foot. We have no credible emergency plan to warn and protect the public. And here’s the thing: all of this is being done to ship ethane from fracking overseas to make plastics – something we need less of, not more.

The problem with plastics isn’t just sea turtles and garbage patches the size of Texas. The problem is also the fracking, pipelines, and cracker plants that are required to produce these plastics. Stopping anthropogenic climate change that threatens the whole world, and the pipeline infrastructure buildout that threatens Chester County and other parts of the US, isn’t just about switching to renewable energy. The solution is also moving away from petroleum-based plastics.

Here in Pennsylvania we can make a huge difference. Although we are a small share of the global population, we are a big contributor to greenhouse gases. We are ranked #2 in the country for natural gas extraction and #3 for coal.

While we stand here today fighting climate change, oil and gas lobbyists are working hard in Harrisburg and elsewhere to make our state a powerhouse for the world and this area a pipeline hub.

But we are the voters. We are the consumers. We can make mindful choices every day about what we buy, how we get from place to place, how we heat our homes…. But even more importantly, every six months we can go to the voting booth. Regardless of political party we need to ask all our candidates and elected officials what they will do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to demand our legislators reject policies that shackle us to fracking, pipelines and plastics production.

We can make every single eco-friendly change in our own lives but the climate crisis demands big bold changes, the kind we need the government WE elect to make.

To quote Margaret Wheatley, “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Defend what you care about. Defend what you love.

Thank you.

Global Climate Strike in West Chester Sept. 20!

By Katrin

Don’t forget to come tomorrow to the Global Climate Strike in West Chester. It starts at 11:00 am at the Chester County Courthouse. We want to show the politicians that there are people out there who care for the future of our planet and are even willing to skip school or work.

After the rally there is going to be an information event from 1:00 – 2:30 pm at the Academic Quad on the Campus of West Chester University. Bring your strike signs and a lot of motivation!

And if you’re still motivated, join us during the International Peace march on Saturday. At noon there is going to be a peace commemoration at the Courthouse and at 2:00 pm the Climate Action and Peace Rally starts.

Grab some friends and come to these important events. Time is running out – we need to act now!

Green Team summer interns’ presentation

On Sept. 11, the West Chester Green Team’s 3 highly effective and hard-working summer interns—from left to right Kara Thorpe, Paige Vermeulen, and Courtney Bodle—described their accomplishments since May to the audience at the West Chester University Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar. All stressed not only what they got done (much of which shows up on this web site) but also the learning experience and how it oriented them to new ideas.

Clean Energy Tour of Chester County 10/19/19

Sierra Club’s Chester County is Ready for 100 (part of West Chester Green Team) is organizing a Clean Energy Tour of Chester County on October 19th.

We have more than 20 sites around Chester County – homes, businesses, farms, houses of worship, schools – who will host open houses to show how to harness the power of the sun and energy efficiency measures to improve our health, create jobs and save money. This is part of a grassroots National Solar and Sustainable Energy Tour held every year across the country. See more below and here.

Chester County Clean Energy Tour

Don’t miss it: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Did you know Chester County is a state leader in solar energy and energy efficiency? Across the County, 20.88 MW are produced in 839 Installations (#2 in PA). Join us for a tour of exemplary clean energy projects at our schools, universities, businesses, farms, non-profits, municipalities and homes. Be inspired at this FREE event that features self-guided tours and open house tours across the County.

The logos to the left show sponsors of the Chesco tour. There will be more! Note that Chester County’s topic for the day is much broader than the national solar theme.

Kick-off events will provide an orientation and suggested route. The homes, businesses, and public places you visit will demonstrate green technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, green design, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more. Learn how your home, workplace, local schools and municipal facilities can be part of the transition to cleaner, safer renewable energy.

For your organization to endorse the tour, please download the invitation and (p. 3) endorsement form ASAP here: Energy tour endorsement letter and form

To find out more about proposing for the tour your clean energy installation of any sort (in addition to those listed above, green roofs, electricity storage, LEED certification, rain collection, and much more) download this: Solar tour host invitation

Fill out the proposal for your installation to be on the tour online here.

Register to attend the tour here.

Be part of the largest national renewable energy event ever and be one of the many forward-thinking hosts or participants from across the country!

The tour is coordinated by Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society, with help from Chester County Ready for 100% Renewable. See more about the nationwide National Solar tour here.

Peace and Climate Rally and March Sept. 21

Sept. 21 is International Day of Peace, whose theme this year is Climate Action. Peacefulness toward people and life implies treasuring our shared home: earth and the climate that nourishes it.

West Chester Green Team and allies are hosting a rally at the Courthouse with some great speakers, followed by a march 5 blocks down S. High St, and more events at the Unitarian Congregation.

download pdf here: https://wcgreenteam.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/climate-peace.pdf